Social Action

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:51 pm

contemplans wrote:And lastly I have an interest of understanding the jhanas in comparison to Catholic meditation, such as the dark night of the soul, and other mystical teachings by St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila.
I've a soft spot for Catholic mystics myself, and one could argue that Ingatius' Spiritual Exercises, e.g., induce jhana, but Buddhist meditation has absolutely nothing to do with attempting union with God--the aim of Christian mystical practices.
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danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:57 pm

contemplans wrote:
danieLion wrote: Why is it important to you that they're an arahant?
...material welfare...
I'd suggest you orient (or re-orient) yourself to how Buddhists in general understand "matter" and "welfare." You'll get nowhere in your understanding if you continue to judge Buddhists with non-Buddhist standards.
D :heart:

danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:01 pm

contemplans wrote:However, we don't seem to have corporal works of mercy as essentially outside of our path, whereas Buddhism seems to place it as something nice, but not necessarily part of the actual path.
Not true.

See also.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10924" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:04 pm

contemplans wrote:
Ben wrote: It is not true that the Dhamma is "a teaching which ultimately no regard for the body"
Yes, it is. It says plainly stated that the body is not-self. And in every life we have different bodies, not to mention different types of bodies relating to other types of beings (animals, etc.), or no bodies at all! So the body is utterly superfluous ultimately in the Buddhist vision of life. They may call it a tool, but it's like borrowed good.

Contemplans.
Avail yourself of a copy of Sue Hamiltion's Identity & Experience and read the chapter titled "The Attitude Towards the Body." You've completely missed the mark.
D :heart:

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contemplans
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Re: Social Action

Post by contemplans » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:46 am

danieLion wrote: Contemplans.
Avail yourself of a copy of Sue Hamiltion's Identity & Experience and read the chapter titled "The Attitude Towards the Body." You've completely missed the mark.
D :heart:
I'll check it out. Thanks!

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Ben
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Re: Social Action

Post by Ben » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:18 am

danieLion wrote:
contemplans wrote:
Ben wrote: It is not true that the Dhamma is "a teaching which ultimately no regard for the body"
Yes, it is. It says plainly stated that the body is not-self. And in every life we have different bodies, not to mention different types of bodies relating to other types of beings (animals, etc.), or no bodies at all! So the body is utterly superfluous ultimately in the Buddhist vision of life. They may call it a tool, but it's like borrowed good.

Contemplans.
Avail yourself of a copy of Sue Hamiltion's Identity & Experience and read the chapter titled "The Attitude Towards the Body." You've completely missed the mark.
D :heart:
According to who? You?
What is clear on this thread is that it is you that has and is consistently missing the mark
Thanks for the reference. I'll look at it if and when time permits.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

sattva
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Re: Social Action

Post by sattva » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:16 am

For those participating in this discussion, ---cool the mind, soften the heart.... :anjali:

santa100
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Re: Social Action

Post by santa100 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:58 am

Also if we don't get too carried away with the jargons specific to one's religion, then we'll find in a lot the cases, it's just a matter of sematics. We all agree on a higher plane of truth that is beyond words and description, and it could only be witnessed through personal effort and experience. Some will call it God, others call it Nibbana. As long as we leave enough moving room for the vocabulary, there would be more common ground instead of stark constrast. Who cares if we call a person who spent all their life in a foreign country taking care of the lepers as someone who is serving God or someone who is practicing a boddhisatta's paramis..

danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:24 am

Ben wrote: It is not true that the Dhamma is "a teaching which ultimately no regard for the body"
contemplans wrote:Yes, it is. It says plainly stated that the body is not-self. And in every life we have different bodies, not to mention different types of bodies relating to other types of beings (animals, etc.), or no bodies at all! So the body is utterly superfluous ultimately in the Buddhist vision of life. They may call it a tool, but it's like borrowed good.
Daniel wrote:Contemplans.
Avail yourself of a copy of Sue Hamiltion's Identity & Experience and read the chapter titled "The Attitude Towards the Body." You've completely missed the mark.
D :heart:
Ben wrote:According to who? You?
What is clear on this thread is that it is you that has and is consistently missing the mark
Thanks for the reference. I'll look at it if and when time permits.
Okay Ben. I'll take it under advisement, as I respect your judgment. I didn't intend to raise your ire and apologize for causing you stress.
D :heart:

manas
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Re: Social Action

Post by manas » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:29 am

contemplans wrote:Yes, it is. It says plainly stated that the body is not-self. And in every life we have different bodies, not to mention different types of bodies relating to other types of beings (animals, etc.), or no bodies at all! So the body is utterly superfluous ultimately in the Buddhist vision of life. They may call it a tool, but it's like borrowed good.
Contemplans, according the the suttas, none of the five khandhas are self - not form, feeling, perception, formations or consciousness! Why single out the body alone?

But just because it is not self, doesn't mean we shouldn't treat it with care, love and respect. Yes, the body is not our possession; it belongs to Nature and will return there. But shouldn't we treat Nature with respect?

with metta.

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appicchato
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Re: Social Action

Post by appicchato » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:10 pm

Plunging the depths of the arahant's soul is no easy matter.

Which soul would that be?...

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contemplans
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Re: Social Action

Post by contemplans » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:30 pm

manasikara wrote: Contemplans, according the the suttas, none of the five khandhas are self - not form, feeling, perception, formations or consciousness! Why single out the body alone?

But just because it is not self, doesn't mean we shouldn't treat it with care, love and respect. Yes, the body is not our possession; it belongs to Nature and will return there. But shouldn't we treat Nature with respect?

with metta.
I single it out just because of this teaching. Many teachings have posed the body as simply a tool, or a ship we pilot. Buddhism holds that we have had and perhaps will have many bodies. So the body is like today's clothing. That seems to indicate to me that outside of the golden chance to practice the dhamma there is nothing inherently valuable about our bodies. I am not saying I have the answer, but it just seemed to me that the attitude that this life is not it may effect how people minister to their neighbor. I am not saying the Buddha advocated that, but that it may be a common item of collateral damage from the doctrine of rebirth, and the natural tendency of people to let past karma do all the work which their present karma should be doing. I am just a little bit confused that there isn't a great reputation amongst Buddhists for ministering to their neighbor in a bodily way, or instructing others about the evils of killing children in the womb. Even if we divorce this from doctrine, everyone can see that no dhamma practice starts until the basic needs of the body are met. Somebody has to grow the food, somebody has to fill the bowl. Traditionally Christian culture did this as an actually part of its path to heaven, for those people called to public work. Buddhism adapted to allow someone to seek out a favorable rebirth, but that's not really essential to Buddhism.

As for the body, we know that it isn't the same as a collection of elements. It is different. And science hasn't discovered how to make humans. So while the body in itself is nothing special, an animated body is infinitely special.
appicchato wrote:
Plunging the depths of the arahant's soul is no easy matter.

Which soul would that be?...
The arahant's soul.

santa100
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Re: Social Action

Post by santa100 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:26 pm

Contemplans wrote:
I am not saying I have the answer, but it just seemed to me that the attitude that this life is not it may effect how people minister to their neighbor. I am not saying the Buddha advocated that, but that it may be a common item of collateral damage from the doctrine of rebirth, and the natural tendency of people to let past karma do all the work which their present karma should be doing.
Actually quite the contrary, beside setting up practicing models to achieve favorable rebirths and the ultimate goal of Nibbana, the Buddha went in great length to instruct the people how to practice for their own benefits and other people's benefit right in the here and now. (ref: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ). And as a direct benefit of the doctrine of rebirth, a person is fully aware that s/he is solely responsible for his/her own actions and that no higher power would be able to erase all his sins in one stroke. This is the most effective source of motivation and it could only strenghthen one's resolve to act, think, and speak responsibly right in the here and now knowing fully well that s/he is the sole heir to his/her own actions..

manas
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Re: Social Action

Post by manas » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:46 pm

Contemplans, you might find this very interesting:
Ministering to the Sick and the Terminally Ill

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl132.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Here is a quote from it (but there is much more to see):
The Buddha has enumerated the qualities that should be present in a good nurse. He should be competent to administer the medicine, he should know what is agreeable to the patient and what is not. He should keep away what is disagreeable and give only what is agreeable to the patient. He should be benevolent and kind-hearted, he should perform his duties out of a sense of service and not just for the sake of remuneration (mettacitto gilanam upatthati no amisantaro). He should not feel repulsion towards saliva, phlegm, urine, stools, sores, etc. He should be capable of exhorting and stimulating the patient with noble ideas, with Dhamma talk (A.iii,144).
Caring for others - and yes that includes the bodies of others - is important on the Buddhist Path.

Regarding the idea that this body is a 'vehicle': this is leaning more towards Hinduism, who hold that there is a transmigrating 'soul or self' discarding old bodies, and accepting new ones (like clothing). As far as I know, this is not the right way to look at it, from a Buddhist perspective. But the Doctrine of the self-less-ness of the five khandhas is not easy to grasp without meditation; I heard Ajahn Chah say that 'if you only intellectualize about it, your head will explode'. So we can talk about it until we are all blue in the face, but you will be no closer to seeing it unless you contemplate it with a calmed mind. Personally, it took me years to stop being averse to it; then I began to investigate it, intellectually and via meditation, and this is an ongoing process. But as you will see above if you click on the link, the fact that the body also isn't self (along with feeling, perception, etc), in no way releases us from our duty to care for other beings. When we see suffering, we should act to relieve it whenever possible.

:anjali:

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contemplans
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Re: Social Action

Post by contemplans » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:02 pm

santa100 wrote: Actually quite the contrary, beside setting up practicing models to achieve favorable rebirths and the ultimate goal of Nibbana, the Buddha went in great length to instruct the people how to practice for their own benefits and other people's benefit right in the here and now. (ref: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ). And as a direct benefit of the doctrine of rebirth, a person is fully aware that s/he is solely responsible for his/her own actions and that no higher power would be able to erase all his sins in one stroke. This is the most effective source of motivation and it could only strenghthen one's resolve to act, think, and speak responsibly right in the here and now knowing fully well that s/he is the sole heir to his/her own actions..
Or they could say mañana if they didn't fear eternal separation from love, burning in hell. Even the worst punishments envisioned in Buddhism are temporary, and, of course, depersonalized. I can trust that most Buddhists here, if not all, do not recall their previous ventures in hell, nor the sufferings they've undergone. I certainly don't. Both say you chose your present and future, but one says your actions have absolute values, and the other says your actions have relative values. Just to give you my viewpoint. A fervent Christian views their relationship with others as a relationship with Christ, God Himself. So someone who believes they are called to service to their neighbor, will go out and feed that person, and like actions. All of these actions have eternal value, that is, they form a part of your life's work, which is a one time moral act. It isn't a side-project which may even be an obstacle. See Dorothy Day as a modern vision of this type of love. The fervent Buddhist may indeed choose to serve the poor, but that is not their main thrust, and most probably would see it as something keeping them away from meditation time, which is the main vehicle to reach the goal. There is a conflict there, and since we have many lives, even if we are convinced of the preciousness of this human life, one of the things can be placed on the back-burner. So with this viewpoint, I see at least one reason why social action can be put off. I am also willing to admit that Christian's can become so involved in social action that they neglect the inner life, and become like social activists. I accept that every human venture has temptations.

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